Exponential Church Hires Lead Pastor

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida – Exponential Church has expanded its leadership team with a key hire, with Stephen Kirkwood stepping in to serve as their new Lead Pastor. Stephen joins Exponential Church after previously serving as the Student Pastor at Connersville Baptist Temple in Connersville, Indiana. 

Exponential Church, a Baptist non-denominational church located on the Eastern coast of Florida, serves 100 attendees each week. 

Vanderbloemen, serving clients with a greater purpose, including churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices, and values-based businesses, loves the whole church and is honored to have partnered with Exponential on this search—as well as several others in recent years—for this vital and important hire. 

Stephen - a husband, father of two, and ordained pastor since 2003 -  brings 16 years of experience in pastoral ministry to his new role at Exponential, and leadership as a community-minded pastor, serving in several community projects & organizations. In addition to two roles in student ministry, Stephen also is the President/CEO of Hope Pregnancy Center, a support outreach ministry for young moms. In this role, he co-developed a public school sexual risk and avoidance program that has now expanded to include neighboring counties and 6 schools in 5 counties total. 

“Being with the Transition Team of Exponential Church in Port St. Lucie, FL in-person multiple times through our process was truly beneficial. It made a difference in helping guide that group through their first pastoral search. Vanderbloemen was able to bring them some candidates they would not have found on their own,“ Brian Dunks, Executive Search Consultant at Vanderbloemen, said. “Led by Randy Neal, the Transition Team did everything we asked of them and they were able to connect with Stephen Kirkwood, sensing he was the one called by God to serve as their Lead Pastor. Stephen is the right fit and will do great leading Exponential Church to live out their name, multiplying the Kingdom of God.”

Exponential Church began as a dream in the heart of Senior Pastor Christian Gaffney, who planted it as a result of God calling him to church planting ministry. Fair Oaks Church and Rev. David Stokes acted as the sending church for Exponential several years ago, and since then, Exponential has grown from four families to nearly 100 members worshipping and serving the Port St. Lucie community. 


Vanderbloemen serves teams with a greater purpose by aligning their people solutions for growth: hiring, compensation, succession, and culture. Through its retained executive search and consulting services, Vanderbloemen serves churches, schools, nonprofits, family offices, and Christian businesses in all parts of the United States and internationally. 

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